Former NAIT students’ COVID-19 project honoured provincially as Capstone contender
12, Oct, 2021
EDMONTON, Oct. 12, 2021 – Imagine a health self-assessment tool that serves as a one-stop shop for helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. A former team of NAIT biomedical engineering technology students did and, for this vision, has been honoured as a provincial finalist for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta’s (ASET) Capstone Project of the Year Award.
Designed to automate the kind of health checks that have become a standard protocol since the emergence of COVID-19, the COVIDIAN health self-assessment kiosk was developed by the former team of Mohamad Abou-Alwan, Jarod Tracy, Jacob Marte, and Filip Radovic. The COVIDIAN is intended to be placed at access points of facilities where individuals will be required to complete the health checks before they are permitted entry.
The COVIDIAN features a radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensor where, as a first step, a user scans an identification card. Another sensor then measures the user’s temperature. If it’s outside of acceptable limits, the user is prompted to go home and call Alberta Health Services (AHS) Health Link. If the temperature is normal, the user is instructed to use the hand sanitizer. The user’s photo is taken for information logging. Feedback to the user is displayed on the kiosk’s screen. Data gathered from the user session is sent to a server and organized in an HTML database for administrator access.
The kiosk is equipped with motion sensors so that if anyone tries to bypass check-in, an alarm will sound, directing them to return to the kiosk and complete the procedure.
While the checks conducted by the COVIDIAN cannot provide diagnoses, they are non-invasive and can be effective in preventing the spread of viruses, such as COVID-19. They can help track potential exposures and outbreaks through the data gathered from users who may have come in close contact with an affected individual.
The COVIDIAN would ideally be located in settings most susceptible to outbreaks or transmission of the virus, including retirement homes and airports. Though its creation was inspired by world health challenges posed by COVID-19, it could also assist in arresting the progression of other contagious and symptomatic diseases.
When not in use, the COVIDIAN cycles between a series of screens offering users friendly reminders to wear a mask, sanitize hands, and stay home if feeling ill.
“Not only can the data logged by the COVIDIAN be used toward the identification of potential virus exposures, it can also build good habits by encouraging mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing,” said Abou-Alwan.
“What these former NAIT students have achieved with their Capstone Project is extraordinary and entirely global in its implications and utility,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “This is the kind of pioneering achievement that is characteristic of the engineering technology profession in this province, and particularly within the Capstone Project of the Year Award competition.”
The former NAIT team’s project is one of seven finalists named by ASET for the Capstone Project of the Year Award. The winning project will be announced in late autumn this year.
In addition to handing out the Capstone Project of the Year Award to deserving engineering technology students, the ASET Education and Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships, bursaries and educational funding to enhance and support the education of students pursuing engineering technology studies.
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 16,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET